A few weekends ago a crew of sledaddicts gathered again in Central Newfoundland to embark on another weekend of snowmobiling. Generally a guys weekend of sledding consists of poker, darts, watching hockey and enjoying a few cold ones in the night while we ride hard all day in search of powder and drifts.
February 6-8th 2009 was no exception. Although all the guys couldn't make it, we managed to round up enough sled carnage and got ourselves stuck pretty good to satisfy any sledaddiction.
There were some doubts about the trip in late January since Central Newfoundland hadn't received very much snow, but we had committed ourselves to the excursion and we had completed the trip in a previous year when we didn't bat an eye at venturing over rocky roads and stump clad cutovers. We love our sleds but we love to ride even more. But, Mother nature didn't let us down this year as she dumped over 20cms the day before the trip, and we were glad because ski's and tracks don't bode well on rocky roads.
Since I no longer live in Central, I had to travel from the snow laden west coast of Newfoundland, Corner Brook, where there was several feet of snow. On the drive in I had a premonition that I was going to be a little unlucky this weekend, and my instincts proved to be right, but I'll have to come back to that part of the story in a little bit.
We had barely been unpacked and settled in at the cabin and we were itching to get out for a short ride to see what the drifts we could find. We didn't make it far before we were huffing and puffing in deep baseless powder pulling our sleds around. The recent snowstorm had been very generous and we had alot of fun breaking a few trails that had some very nice drifts waiting a good pounding. Although Justin's 144" Summit proved to be the King of the snow the first evening, we were definitely able to "get er stuck". One of the great things about the Summit sled, besides the fact it was the fastest sled there that weekend in the deep snow, was it only required a small tug on the ski to get it moving and the sled would literally pop out of any hole it would dig when stuck.
We all agreed this pic was the best stuck sled of the trip. After getting carried away busting through a section of trail that had 5 beautiful consecutive drifts I wasn't able to keep my 136"x1.5" 550 Fanner out of the alders. The sled came to a dead stop when it landed as I sumersaulted over the handlebars. My premonition tingled a little bit after that incident but fortunately both sled and rider escaped unscathed for now.
When we arrived back to the cabin from the short ride Chris had arrived which meant another ride was in order after we recuped from the first. It's alot of fun getting stuck and breaking trails but we are beginning to get a little lazy in our older age and we needed a break. Chris had just gotten his REVXP Renegade sled back from the dealership after having another round of unexpected maintenance done. Unfortunately, his sled's clutch wasn't put together properly by the dealer which resulted in him having a host of issues later that night and he missed out on the big ride of the weekend as a result of it. After toiling over the XP for a couple hours we resigned ourselves to the warm cabin and threw some fancy steaks on the BBQ. Although this was the second year the XP failed Chris, he was a real champ and took it all pretty well considering the circumstances and volunteered to cook up a "jigs dinner scoff" the following day while we all enjoyed a beautiful sunny day on our sleds.
Jigs Dinner - A traditional Newfoundland meal cooked in a large pot consisting of cured Salt-Beef, Moose or Caribou roast, Peas pudding, Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoe and Turnip.
The next morning we were up early in wild anticipation of a nice long haul. Steve Adams joined us for the ride so he could work the bugs out of SledAddicts.com's "Project Rev". With a new setup of go fast goodies and bling from Cudney Racing, Straightline Performance, ArcticFX Graphics, Tricked-Toys and Toms Snowmobile, Steve's improved 500SS has evolved into a very sharp looking and sporty trail sled.
Of course the first order of business was to determine who is "king of the lake". Once we had crowned Justin the king, we were able to get on our way and really begin to enjoy the snow. There still seems to be some contention on who's sled is really the fastest, so I expect to see Summit, Project Rev, and the Z1 line up again this year to declare an official winner on the lake.
We broke new trail most of the way as we headed further inland towards Buchans, making frequent stops to jump drifts and enjoy the day to it's fullest. It was an amazing day, but gas was beginning to run a little low because we spent most of our time off the trail drift hunting. We headed into Millertown to refuel our stomachs and sleds with a plan to branch off to Buchans and head up toward the "Gaff Topsail", a major geographical landmark in that area that always boasted insane drifts and powder.
Unfortunately we didn't make it to Buchans or the Gaff because on our way back I tagged a cut-off telephone pole hiding just under the snow about 8kms between Millertown and Buchans Junction. The damage - a bent up front chasis, a-arm and left shock. Apparently, these left over telephone poles from the old railway are cutoff 2 and 3 feet from the ground and are hiding from snowmobilers in one 11 km section. The Unofficial story is the poles were cut during a winter period by people who used them for beam supports for cabins and other structures. These brainless idiots obviously have no forsight and lack any logical and coherent thinking. Someone will end up getting killed if the proper signage is not put in place to warn of this danger 8 feet from the main snowmobile trail.
When I was thrown from the sled and landed on my back on a stump, I suddenly realized my earlier premonition of misfortune. Luckily I was not injured because of the Tek-Vest protection I faithfully wear which ultimately prevented me from missing out on more than just snowmobiling for the remainder of the season. This was a reminder that accidents do and will happen when you're snowmobiling. Investing into proper protection like a Tek-Vest and a good helmet is absolutely essential. The "nun" is apparently the term used for the front end chasis section of the Rev platform and is known to fail whenever the a-arm encounters a fixed object like the one below, needless to say "another nun bit the dust" and I'm still looking for a used one, so please contact me if you have the parts I'm looking for, I'll go insane if I miss out on the rest of the season.
Surprisingly, the sled was still drivable, although it would no longer turn right, but who needs to turn when you have this much powder to power around in. I certainly didn't let this ruin my weekend and I continued to ride hard all the way back to camp after giving the sled a good inspection.
By the time we arrived at the cabin that evening, supper preparations were well underway. Chris was overwhelmed with all the stories and pictures from that day's excursion and we continued the evening and night celebrating another fun weekend of sledding.
Sunday morning we were up early again, cooking up a mighty breakfast and assessing the damage to my sled, guessing what it was going to cost to get if back on the snow.
After we cleaned up the cabin and packed up the bags we headed out for another ride to wind down the weekend and cure the remaining sledaddiction. Heading home after such an excellent trip is always sad. We parted our ways with renewed committments to attempt another excursion again later this season.
Stay tuned for more action and adventure from the Badger Lake Drifters....
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